“Go! Learn things.” Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS
Research before you attend a conference is a huge key to success. Go to the conference website click on each faculty member, agent, editor and publisher attending. Read, read, and read. Click on links directing you to their website. Read lots, learn stuff. What do they publish? Do you have something that fits their need? Print off the faculty page to circle, highlight, and take notes of those you wish to see.
After you learn stuff
Only make appointments with those people who are interested in your genre, article subject matter, or the idea you are pitching. Positive feedback and requests for your manuscripts are most likely to happen if you’ve done your research.
Most of the faculty will have a photo on the site. Having a copy with you will help you identify them between classes, break time, elevators and dining halls. Introduce yourself and briefly pitch your stuff. It’s not being rude. They expect conferencees to pitch to them outside of appointment schedules.
List those you wish to have appointments with by order of importance. You will only be allowed to make a few appointments. You’ll have to catch the rest on the fly.
Don’t forget panels
Attending panels at the conference furthers your research. Editor A does not list flash fiction for his magazine on his website but during a panel he mentioned he is now looking for it. Tada! You now can add him to your list of who you wish to contact.
Check your samples and clips
Look over the samples and clips you are taking to the conference. Decide in advance which ones you want to share during each appointment. Write more samples if an idea hits you while researching the needs of editors. It might be the perfect fit. Be sure it’s your best work.
Knowledge is power
So in conclusion-research, research, research. The more you know the less overwhelmed you will be at the conference.
Do you have any pre-conference research tips? Share them please.
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